This week I’m exposing my three children to all the excesses that American culture provides. Yes, we’re spending February vacation in Orlando. Between a steady diet of French fries, non-stop entertainment, and promises to make their dreams come true, it’s no wonder that everyone is grouchy, overtired and feeling (and smelling) slightly greasy. Is it any wonder I have a love/hate relationship with Disney? But today, let’s talk about loving Disney. Loving Disney is a generational sin. My parents love… Read more

Sometime in the near future, I, along with some friends, will begin a mom blog for My friend Tim, who runs the evangelical portal on Patheos, came up with this idea. When Tim first suggested we do a mom blog, I couldn’t fathom it. In fact, despite my husband setting up Plumbing Demons way back in 2005 and encouraging me to write in it ever since, I just couldn’t pull off blogging. As an IT guy, Scott knew the… Read more

For almost 48 hours, my kids have finally entered the real world of American communication–texting. Two weeks ago, Scott said if they cleaned up the kitchen every day including dishes, wiping the table/counters and sweeping, all without complaining and fighting, he would start the family text plan. Of course, they were all supposed to be doing the above chores anyway, but the key phrase was “without complaining and fighting.” “I don’t want to hear you argue over who does more… Read more

“I’m feeling like a complete failure in life,” I said to my husband a few nights ago. It’s a common refrain he’s heard over our 18 year marriage. I suffer from an addiction to significance, made worse because I’ve inherited it from both sides of my family. Both my grandfathers got their Ph.D.s in America, one at Columbia, the other at Harvard. Both were government officials in China (one a Nationalist ambassador to the Ivory Coast, Philippines, and Argentina, the… Read more

            Thursday was Chinese New Year so the year of the rabbit has begun! Happy New Year!After leaving Hawaii for college, I went for many years missing Chinese New Years and only feeling faint regret that I had passed by the biggest celebration in Chinese culture without noticing. But now that I have children, everything has changed. Chinese New Year now symbolizes Chinese ethnicity, and I am always feeling slightly guilty for how little I impart… Read more

A couple weeks ago, during my typical Whole Foods visit (a trip with at least one kid, tasting every sample we can find throughout the store, ending up at the gelato counter where we taste at least 2 flavors each, and finally ordering a $2.88 gelato for the kid while I abstain), they gave out Dixie cups “double green smoothie.” To be charitable, it didn’t taste too bad, but it did look like what you find in your 6 month… Read more

Not. This morning is our 4th snow day in 4 weeks. 4-8 inches of snow and freezing rain. Snow soaked with rain so each shovelful feels like lifting bricks. But I’m humming “Oh what a beautiful morning” because we watched the Hugh Jackman version of Oklahoma last night. School was cancelled at 6 p.m., prompting shouts and dancing and lots of joy from the younger set. I already knew Scott wasn’t coming home—his hospital discovered their surprise 5 day audit… Read more

Last week, during a snow day, my oldest daughter Ling-Ling read all of Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and really enjoyed it. I finally finished it this afternoon, on yet another snow day, while taking Ling to her physical–the same physical I forgot to take her to last week because, yes, it was a snow day. To my annoyance, Ling kept reading over my shoulder, saying things like, “Oh, this chapter gets sad,” and “This chapter is… Read more

I feel like a ping-pong ball. Yesterday Time magazine arrived with the cover story focusing on Amy Chua and Tiger Mothering. Then last night, the whole family went to see “Race to Nowhere,” a documentary looking at the inordinate stress we’re placing on our kids through too much homework and high pressured schooling. We skipped the discussion to rush back home to listen to Obama’s State of the Union, where he spoke about our need to out-educate China and India…. Read more

Today a daughter came home from school, placed the back of her hand against her forehead, and declared that she had been MORTIFIED at school. In class they played the game “That’s me” where everyone stood to various questions. To the statement “I can text on my phone,” apparently everyone stood up but her. Yes, I am that evil Chinese mother who has not provided texting to her children. But I suspect my motives for barring texting are different from… Read more

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